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Negotiations with the pirates

Negotiations with the pirates
The owner of a Turkish ship seized off Somalia was negotiating with pirates on a ransom to secure the release of the vessel and its 23-man Turkish crew.

The owner of a Turkish ship seized off Somalia was negotiating with pirates on a ransom to secure the release of the vessel and its 23-man Turkish crew.

The owner of a Turkish ship seized off Somalia was negotiating with pirates on a ransom to secure the release of the vessel and its 23-man Turkish crew, a company lawyer said Thursday. "It has become routine to hold talks on a ransom deal in incidents of piracy, and we are also negotiating with the pirates," Nilgun Yamaner, who represents Istanbul-based Horizon Shipping, told AFP.

She declined to reveal the sum sought by the kidnappers and added: "Our priority is to secure the safe return of the crew to Turkey."

The Horizon 1 was currently anchored at the port of Eyl in northern Somalia's breakaway Puntland region.

Two Turkish frigates, deployed with international anti-piracy forces in the region, were awaiting in international waters as their mandate prevented them from sailing into territorial waters, Yamaner said.

The Horizon 1 was seized July 8 when it was sailing from Saudi Arabia to Jordan with 33,000 cubic meters of sulphide.

Pirate attacks on shipping off Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean have escalated since last year.

Last year, three Turkish vessels were hijacked in the Gulf of Aden, with the last of them being released in February.

www.TurkishMaritime.com.tr

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